Jersey City pulled an item off the city website yesterday that promoted a political meet-and-greet intended to boost the chances of one of Mayor Steve Fulop’s council candidates.
The event was listed on the taxpayer-funded cultural affairs calendar as a community barbecue hosted from noon to six today by Mo Kinberg (the calendar entry spelled her name “Kingsberg”).
On her Facebook page, Kinberg, who with Fulop’s support is seeking to unseat Ward D Councilman Michael Yun in November, promoted the event as a meet-and-greet alongside ads for her candidacy and Fulop’s.
About a half an hour after The Jersey Journal asked whether it was appropriate for the city to advertise an event hosted by a political candidate aligned with the mayor, the entry was deleted.
City spokeswoman Jennifer Morrill said the item was added to the calendar in error.
“A new City Hall part-time employee made a mistake when she saw a permit request submitted like every other permit request and didn’t realize it was political so she made a mistake and posted it,” Morrill said. “It was corrected right away when brought to our attention and removed.”
The episode led to verbal volleys between Yun and Kinberg, one of at least three people who intend to challenge him in the Nov. 7 municipal election, when the mayoralty and all nine council seats are up for grabs.
Ward D, which includes most of the Heights, is a key area for Fulop, whose Ward D candidate in 2013 lost to Yun. Yun has spent the last four years as a Fulop irritant, voting against major administration initiatives and criticizing the city’s stance on tax breaks for real-estate developers. He mulled challenging Fulop in the mayor’s race before deciding to run for re-election instead.
Reached by phone, Yun, 63, used the word “disgusting” to describe the city advertising Kinberg’s meet-and-greet, and alleged that Fulop has turned City Hall into his re-election campaign office.
“He uses … taxpayer dollars for his own campaign,” he said. “Time to stop it.”
Kinberg, 37, called Yun a hypocrite, noting that the councilman provides constituent services out of a Central Avenue office that doubles as his campaign headquarters.
“That’s very questionable,” she said.
Since Yun joined the council, he has worked largely out of a storefront office on Central Avenue rather than at City Hall. Responding to Kinberg, he did not argue that the office is also now his campaign headquarters. The difference here, Yun said, is that he pays for the office himself, not the taxpayers of Ward D.
“What a wonderful councilman they have,” Yun said.